Chainrai could own Portsmouth for a third time
Hong Kong businessman Balram Chainrai has confirmed he made an offer to buy back English soccer club Portsmouth despite still being owned GBP19 million (HK$233.44 million) by the stricken club. If he succeeds, it will be his third stint as owner.
Chainrai said yesterday he made an offer to buy the club from its administrators, PKF.
The 53-year-old, who runs a successful consumer electronics group and has interests in Britain, including a property investment firm, briefly became the then Premier League club's accidental owner after lending it money that has not been repaid.
Soon afterwards, in February 2010, Portsmouth went into administration. It emerged from administration eight months later and Chainrai bought the club. In June last year he sold Portsmouth, then in the second-tier English Championship, to Convers Sports Initiatives, which itself went into administration five months later.
The club from the English southern coastal town, known as Pompey, went into administration for a second time in February this year, leading to a 10-point deduction that eventually resulted in their relegation this month to third-tier League One.
'Yes, it's true. I haven't bought it yet. I made an offer with conditions. It's just not me trying to buy it but several members of my consortium [Portpin],' Chainrai said from Munich, where he was attending last night's European Champions League final.
Asked why he was trying to buy back the club, Chainrai said: 'I have grown to love this club. If there is anything I could to do to help the club, I would do it. One of the reasons why I wanted to do this is to protect our debenture. Also I have been approached by many fans and people from Portsmouth who requested me to take over the club.'
Chainrai's offer is reported to be the only one. If it is accepted by creditors, the club could be out of administration within six weeks.
'I have experience and my lawyers can handle the case. I don't mind if we are in League One. Our main objective [if the deal goes through] is to get Portsmouth back in the Championship. God willing, we can make it back to the Championship,' he said.
'If they accept our offer we will have an exclusive deal with the club and it can go ahead within 60 days.'
Chainrai recently said he would take control of the club again only as a last resort to prevent it going bust.
PFK are not expected to receive any new offers before the club runs out of money. Portpin is seen as giving the best deal for creditors to avoid liquidation.
The last time Portsmouth were English champions. They also won the First Division title in 1949. They won the FA Cup in 1939 and in 2008